As reported by cnet,
Jack stands are deceptively simple but incredibly important tools to have in the garage. If you’re planning on doing any sort of even moderately involved automotive repair work, they are absolutely essential.
Why is that? Well, the short answer is, you never want to crawl underneath a vehicle when it’s only supported by a floor jack, like, ever. (Seriously, never do it!) Sure, 9,999 times out of 10,000 a car jack will probably support a vehicle perfectly on its own. But internal seals can leak, the jack’s lifting pad could slip on a pinch weld or someone else could bump the jack handle, causing the vehicle to fall. And you do not want to be crawling around underneath when that happens.
This is where jack stands come into play. They allow you to securely — and safely — support a car or truck while virtually eliminating the risk of collapse. You can fully rest the vehicle on jack stands if you want, for a rock-solid footing or, if you’re only doing light work or quickly inspecting something underneath, you can leave the vehicle supported on a jack and set the jack stands underneath a jack point for safety should something go south. Like salt and pepper, Bert and Ernie, egg salad left in the sun at a picnic and a bout of food poisoning, floor jacks and jack stands go hand in glove.
To help find the jack stand set that’s right for you, follow this handy guide. We’ll show you jack stands for various applications, share helpful hints to get the most out of these tools and even recommend jack stands so you can make a smart, informed purchase. Of course, all the items highlighted on this list are based on real-world experience and user reviews.
Wrenching on a tight budget? That’s OK. This set of super-affordable jack stands from Torin is just what you need. Available in a variety of weight ratings from 2 tons to 12, the most affordable set starts at just $29. This gets you a pair of jack stands with an adjustable height from just shy of 11 inches to nearly 17 inches of maximum height. A sturdy ratcheting mechanism holds firm and allows you to easily fine-tune vehicle height. Constructed of welded steel and of a pyramidal design, these jack stands are rated at 4,000 pounds, meaning they should be able to support practically every type of typical passenger vehicle out on the road. Buyers are extremely happy with these affordable steel frame jack stands, too, as they have a 4.7 rating out of 5 after more than 8,000 reviews… 8,000!
“These are very nice. The constitution is far superior to those from others in the price range,” opined repeat customer Eric Heitman. “I have the 3-ton version, they look like a kid’s toy next to the 12-ton stands.” Obviously, like Heitman, if necessary for your application, you can skip the 2-ton stands and go all in on the 12-tonners, which will set you back a still-reasonable $135.
It’s no secret: OTC makes great tools. This is why the company’s 3-ton jack stands are our premium pick. Featuring high-quality steel construction for longevity, these jack stands have self-locking ratchet mechanisms, wide bases for added stability and a fetching (and durable) baked-enamel finish. As for working range, they extend from 12 inches to a max height just shy of 18. The ratcheting mechanism has 11 teeth and there’s a deep, V-style notch in each generously sized saddle to keep vehicles secure while up in the air.
So, what does all this OTC awesomeness cost? You get both jack stands for an exceedingly reasonable $64. Beyond that, a limited lifetime warranty is included, as is a generous 4.7 out of 5 rating. But don’t just take our word for it. Customer RCB wrote, “These are beautifully made, finished, and welded. When I crawl under my truck, I always trust that they are doing their job.” Those sentiments were echoed by Kristi, who noted, “Another quality product from OTC. Yes, they can be more expensive than other manufacturers but when it comes to my safety, I’d rather not take the chance.”
If you want to spend your money where you earn it, these 100% American-made jack stands are for you. Manufactured by US Jack, these extra-heavy-duty tools are built for serious work, able to support a formidable 6 tons of weight capacity… each. That’s a whopping 12,000 pounds of automobile, enough, even, to handle commercial vehicles. The bases measure 11 inches square and the working height range goes from 16 1/4 inches to 25 1/4 inches, a full 9 inches of travel. Giving you plenty of wiggle room, these jack stands are even tested to 1.5 times their rated capacity. Providing that extra sturdiness, the legs are made of heavy stamped steel and are supported by a welded perimeter ring. The load bars are made of ductile iron.
At $249, this set of two American-made steel jack stands with 100% US parts isn’t cheap, but it’s built to last and customers are super happy as they have a full 5-star rating. Humorously, Gio wrote, “These things are tanks: well-built, solid and look good. I love them way more than all my ex-girlfriends combined, but not as much as my dogs.” Billy Buchanan said, “Best quality I’ve seen in floor jacks, very stable, solid as a rock. [I] feel very safe using these.” What more could you ask for?
“I purchased two sets of these because I liked them so much.” — D7
“These stands are incredible for 100 bucks [apiece]! You would probably not be able to purchase the raw materials to fab them for the price of these.” — Jeff
“I’m convinced they could support an aircraft carrier and survive a nuclear blast. Excellent construction; very good paint coverage. Welds are really good.” — Nova Guy
“People pass down jewelry or other valuable family treasure, but these to me, will be one of the most useful and valuable tools that I’ve come to possess in my lifetime. They are built like beasts…” — Dasteufelhunden
Based on customer reviews, these Omega heavy-duty jack stands are the cat’s pajamas, the feline’s nightclothes. With a host of glowing reviews, they’ve earned a 4.8-star rating out of 5, a damn-impressive performance. As for stats, together, they’re rated to support 22 tons, or 22,000 pounds each. They’re made of heavy-gauge steel and feature a pin-style locking mechanism. For added convenience (and so you can’t lose them), each locking pin is wired to its steel jack stand. These tools are adjustable, with a lift height from about 13 inches up to just shy of 20. At $226 this set of jack stands isn’t cheap (or light in weight) but it should withstand a lifetime of abuse and then some.
But you don’t always need jack stands that are that strong or heavy. At the opposite end of the jack-stand spectrum is this highly rated set of aluminum units from Pittsburgh Automotive. Priced at $80, this set includes two jack stands that can support a decent 3 tons, but here’s the best part: They only weigh around 10 pounds. This makes these jack stands ideal to keep in the back of your vehicle for possible emergency repairs or throw them in your racecar so they’re at the ready if you need to do any work between hot laps. Light in weight, affordably priced and with self-locking ratchet mechanisms, these aluminum jack stands are easy to recommend. Customers love ’em, too, and have given this product a 4.8-star-out-of-5 rating.
All Trade Tools
As mentioned above, a floor jack should basically never be used without jack stands. Making it impossible to do this, a company called All Trade Tools has created an all-in-one solution, a bottle jack with an integrated jack stand. Yep, it’s every bit as clever as it sounds. This system can support up to 3 tons of weight capacity and its height adjustment range is between 11 and 21 inches. Once you’ve jacked your car or truck to the desired height, a safety bar locks it in that position, so if the jack lets loose, the vehicle stays in the air and off your body. Priced at just $66, this tool is ready to work, and many customers love it. This combination hydraulic jack and jack stand has a 4.5 out of 5 rating after nearly 2,900 reviews.
Our next recommendation is another Omega product. The company’s 6-ton steel jack stands are not as burly as the ones listed above, but they are lighter and more practical for shade-tree mechanics. Used in tandem, they’re rated to hold a whopping 12,000 pounds. Beyond that, these jack stands feature sturdy welded-steel construction and feature a mechanism that automatically raises the ratchet bar to the load, so you don’t have to fumble around while lifting vehicles, which is super convenient. As for specifications, their minimum lift height is 15 3/4 inches and they top out at 24 3/8 inches.
Together, these sturdy and jack stands clock in at less than 36 pounds. They’re also well-liked by customers, with a 4.8 out of 5 rating. Cwell commented in their review, “Really nice stands, very stable and the auto lift feature is invaluable when you only have one hand free to work with. Great price on such a substantial jack stand.” These sentiments were echoed by R. Dick: “These stands are very well built, and the air spring is a nice feature, but the best thing is the 24-inch saddle height. Those extra inches make a huge difference when doing transmission work on a larger vehicle like a 1-ton truck” Summing them up nicely, Dick wrote, “After using them a bit, I can heartily recommend anyone that does much mechanic work to invest in stands of this size.”
Let’s face it, not everyone needs to support a city bus, lifted truck or some other heavy vehicle. Maybe you have a sports car you store over the winter. To prevent the tires from getting flat spots and to help keep rodents at bay, you may elevate your pride and joy, keep it off the ground. Some lightweight, relatively low-profile jack stands are just what you need. This set from Torin is made of aluminum and clocks in at a claimed 6 pounds. Despite their featherweight construction, these babies can support up to 6,000 pounds, more than enough for most drivers. The adjustable supports feature six locking positions, which gives you a height adjustment range between 10 3/4 inches and 15 5/8 inches. Priced at just $59, these tools are a crowd-pleaser, having a 4.7 rating out of 5 after nearly 800 customer reviews. For example, Urden said, “These are solid jack stands and the photo doesn’t do them justice. They are lightweight, robust and larger than you can discern from the description photo.” DM likes them, too, “These jack stands look and feel great. They’re substantial in their solidity and the anodized finish gives them a really nice look.”
Comparison of the best jack stands for 2021
|Best budget jack stands||Torin Big Red Jack Stands T43202||$29||Offered in various capacities, super-affordable price, wide adjustment range|
|Best all-around jack stands||OTC Jack Stands S303||$64||Three-ton capacity, respected manufacturer, highly rated, reasonable price|
|Best made-in-America jack stands||US Jack 6 Ton Garage Stands D-41610||$249||Made in the USA, superb quality, heavy-duty construction, generous adjustability|
|Best extra-heavy-duty jacks stands||Omega Heavy Duty Jack Stand 32225B||$226||Super-heavy weight rating, quality construction, highly rated, pin-style lock mechanism|
|Best lightweight aluminum jack stands||Pittsburgh Automotive 3 Ton Aluminum Jack Stands 91760||$80||Lightweight aluminum construction, 3-ton weight rating, highly rated|
|Best all-in-one jack and jack stand||Powerbuilt All-in-One 3 Ton Bottle Jack 640912||$66||Clever all-in-one design, wide adjustment range, 3-ton capacity, highly rated, affordable pricing|
|Best heavy-duty jack stands||Omega Magic Lift 6 Ton Jack Stand 32066||$153||High-quality construction, 6-ton capacity, wide lift range, highly rated|
|Best light-duty jack stands||Torin Big Red Aluminum Jack Stands T43004||$59||Lightweight construction, pin-style locking mechanism, 3-ton capacity, affordable price, highly rated|
Five things to know before buying and using jack stands
- The most important thing to know about jack stands is this: Never crawl underneath a vehicle unless it’s supported by one or more! As mentioned in the introduction of this piece, car jacks can fail for many reasons and you never want to be underneath a car or truck if it falls. Work hard, work smart, but most importantly, work safely.
- There are several different jack-stand designs. Many feature ratcheting lift mechanisms, others use locking pins and some are of a telescopic design that uses a screw for height adjustment. All these configurations work, though the ratcheting type is probably the most common and easiest to use.
- Jack stands are made of different materials, most typically steel and aluminum. Heavy-duty units are usually constructed of the former, lighter-weight variants of the latter.
- There are a wide range of different jack stands out there, one for nearly every budget — from super-affordable models for backyard mechanics to ones that can withstand the abuse of professional garages. If you can afford a floor jack for working on your car, you should be able to afford the stands to go along with it.
- When using a jack stand (or a car jack for that matter), it’s highly advisable you place them on solid surfaces, such as concrete. You might be able to cheat by putting wood or other materials underneath the bases, but you’re taking a big risk. If you try to use jack stands on dirt or grass, they could sink into the ground or tip to one side causing the vehicle to fall, which is not a good thing.
Get a set of jack stands today!
If you’re champing at the bit to do some automotive repairs, make sure you have a good set of jack stands in your tool collection. They’re absolutely essential if you plan on doing nearly any sort of work underneath a vehicle. The good news is, as shown in this article, many quality sets are supremely affordable. Any of the jack stands highlighted here will serve you well and should have no trouble lasting decades. So, what’s your excuse? Why don’t you have any jack stands? Now’s your chance to get some, and you totally should.