Working on your car can be very satisfying, even if you don’t consider yourself a car enthusiast. There is a lot of maintenance you can do yourself, and a lot of it is pretty easy, but you have to make sure you have the right equipment. If you’re not equipped properly, it can be dangerous and can lead to serious injuries or even death.
This is especially true with using jacks. Jacks are designed to lift a car, but not hold it up. Although you can use a jack to hold up your car, it’s not advised because they can fail and the consequences can be catastrophic. Imagine lying under your car when the jack fails—it’s not a pretty picture.
That’s where jack stands come in. These inexpensive devices improve safety while you’re working on your car — they are designed to keep the car lifted in case the jack fails. It’s a no-brainer—if you plan to work on your car, specifically underneath it, you need jack stands.
Quick tip: always buy a jack stand that has a capacity that can hold the entire weight of your vehicle, measured in tons. Here are the best jack stands you can buy.
Updated 08/13/2020 with clarification on capacities for each recommendation, along with a new product recommendation.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: BIG RED Torin Steel Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
- 2. AmazonBasics Steel Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
- 3. BIG RED Torin Double Locking Steel Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
- 4. OTC Jack Stands 22-Ton Capacity
- 5. BIG RED Torin Aluminum Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
- 6. Powerbuilt Unijack 3-Ton Capacity
- 7. TONDA Steel Jack Stands 2-Ton Capacity
- 8. BIG RED Torin Double Locking Steel Jack Stands 6-Ton Capacity
- 9. Sunex High Height Jack Stands 10-Ton Capacity
- 10. Hein-Werner Blue/Yellow Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
- What is a Jack Stand?
- How to Choose the Right Jack Stand
- How to Properly Use a Jack Stand
1. Editor's Pick: BIG RED Torin Steel Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
This inexpensive pair of jack stands is very popular on Amazon for a reason. Torin is a well-known manufacturer in this field and all of their products are very high quality. The pair we have chosen here can support vehicles of up to 3 tons (6,000 lbs), which means that every vehicle, from compact cars, sedans and up to crossovers and SUVs will be covered. That said, some heavy-duty trucks weigh more – be sure to always check your owner’s manual for the weight of your vehicle.
The construction of the Torin Big Red Steel Jack Stands is rock solid. They’re made from high-grade forged steel and a welded frame design, so you can count on their durability. The saddles are also wider and deeper than in other jack stands, making them easier to place beneath the jacking points and safer as well. On top of that, they’re easily adjustable (ratcheting style) to a lot of different heights and are quick to use. In reality, there are not many negatives about these jack stands – for the price, they deserve to be in everyone’s garage.
2. AmazonBasics Steel Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
AmazonBasics has been expanding its product offerings, entering several different markets including automotive. The company’s jack stands are undoubtedly private label products, but they do meet ASME PASE-2014 Safety Standard for Portable Automotive Service Equipment. You can choose between 2- and 3-ton capacity, which is total capacity when the pair of jack stands are used together.
For adjusting height, these jack stands feature a self-locking ratchet that’s easy to use. You can get precise height adjustments with each click, so it’s straightforward to get both jack stands to the same height. The durable steel frame comes with rustproof coating and easy-to-read weight capacity. The bottom of each jack stand has a wide square-shaped base for optimal stability.
These jack stands are backed by a 1-year limited warranty.
3. BIG RED Torin Double Locking Steel Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
Another Torin item on our list, this time with a double locking system that is much safer than other ones. This means that if the first locking system fails, the other one will still keep the vehicle in the air. If you want the extra security these jack stands offer, then we recommend them, but be prepared to pay a little more compared to the other Torin jack stands that sit higher on our list.
As with their brothers, the Torin Double Locking jack stands are made of strong and durable forged steel with a welded frame design. The large saddle area makes it easy to place the jack stand under the car, while being more secure as well. The large base means that you can count on these jack stands to hold your car even if it moves a little, while the 3 Ton capacity will be more than good enough for most scenarios.
The Torin Double Locking jack stand can be easily adjusted from 11.22″ to 16.7″ in height, which is good for most users, but for more height (SUVs for example), refer to the ESCO Equipment 10498.
4. OTC Jack Stands 22-Ton Capacity
If you need the most heavy-duty jack stands, then you should go with a pair of OTC 1780s. These jack stands are specifically designed to withstand up to 22 tons, which makes them great for professional use. Sure, 22 tons are a lot, but if you want your jack stands to last a lifetime even when working on lighter and smaller vehicles, the OTC ones are the best bet.
There are several reasons why we’ve chosen the OTC 1780 jack stands, the most important being that they have a flat base, which prevents sinking into soft surfaces and even improves the longevity of the jack stand. These jack stands also meet the latest and most stringent ASME/PALD standards for lifting equipment. In some workplaces, meeting these standards is a must. This also means that you’ll be sure that these jack stands will hold the weight of almost any vehicle and always keep you safe.
On top of that, they can be adjusted in 3-inch increments, from very low to very high (12” to 20”), which means that they can be used for a variety of different maintenance services on a variety of different cars. The only caveat is that they are on the expensive side.
5. BIG RED Torin Aluminum Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
The aluminum jack stands from Torin are one of our favorites on this list because they are made of a very high-quality aluminum and can withstand up to 3 tons of capacity while being very light, durable and safe. The only reason they are not higher on this list is that they are a little bit expensive compared to steel jack stands with the same capacity, but if money is not an object, then we recommend these Big Red Aluminum jack stands.
There are several reasons for that. The first one is the working height of the jack stand – because they are of the pinhole type, they can be used without inserting the pin inside, for working height of only 9.9” – great for sports cars or some compact cars. On the other end of the spectrum, this jack stand can go up to 15.63”, which is high enough for most purposes.
On top of everything, the pinhole design means that it is more secure than a ratchet type, while the flat base keeps the product sturdy for long periods of time and prevents sinking. Perhaps as important as everything else, they are very compact and light, so you can easily transport them in your car’s trunk.
6. Powerbuilt Unijack 3-Ton Capacity
Every other jack stand on this list can support your vehicle but not lift it. Well, what if you can have both a jack and a jack stand in one product at a very low price? The Powerbuilt 620471 Unijack will not only support your vehicle, but it can lift it as well, making it an all-round item. Sure, lifting capacity will not be as high as a real trolley jack, but for most users, the 3 ton capacity will be just fine.
On top of that, the Powerbuilt Unijack is a hydraulic jack, which means that little force is required to lift your car. It can even go from heights of 11” to 21” – more than most competitors offer. The bottom is flat to reduce sinking, while the ratchet type of securing it means that it’s very easy to use. Even the price of this item is very low – it’s even cheaper than some jack stands that only support your vehicle.
With all that said, we would recommend this “unijack” only for amateur purposes because it doesn’t look like it’s durable enough to lift a car several times a day. Simply put, as there are more parts that can go wrong. For changing a tire though, this is one of the best products out there!
7. TONDA Steel Jack Stands 2-Ton Capacity
The TONDA 3 Ton Steel jack stand is a highly rated product, thanks to high-quality build and low price. It’s made of two different materials – steel is used for the frame, while cast iron is used for the support arms. There is even a rust-resistant finish, so you don’t need to worry about the longevity of this jack stand. Thanks to this combination, the TONDA seems like a very strong product that can withstand daily abuse.
It is rated at 3 tons, which should be more than enough for most users, as it can be used on compact cars, SUVs, and trucks. It’s also designed to meet the ANSI/ASME and PALD 2014 standards.
This product is of the ratchet type that is very easy to use and adjust, but it’s not as safe as the pinhole type. In addition to that, some of the welds look sloppy – you shouldn’t worry about safety, they are just not that pleasing to the eye. Still, for the price this jack stand is offered, we think that it is a good addition to your garage, especially if you’re on a budget.
8. BIG RED Torin Double Locking Steel Jack Stands 6-Ton Capacity
Own a bigger truck or an SUV? Then you might need a jack stand that can withstand the heavier weight. The Torin Double Locking, 6 Ton Capacity, as the name suggests, supports up to 6 tons, which make it usable in a lot of scenarios. These jack stands are made from a high-quality steel, for a heavy-duty construction that is very sturdy and durable. Being made of steel, they are on the heavy side, so we wouldn’t recommend them if you have a lighter vehicle, especially if you plan to keep them in the car.
As with other Torin products, they are carefully designed to meet almost everyone’s needs. We really like that the saddle has a large surface area, that the ratcheting style adjustment is fast and easy and that the jack stands can be adjusted from 15.4″ to 23.8″. On top of that, this product also has the double locking mechanism that is twice as safe as a single one. The most important thing with this Torin Double Locking 6 Ton jack stand is that it’s very cheap for what it offers, as with every other Torin product.
9. Sunex High Height Jack Stands 10-Ton Capacity
If you need a jack stand that can fly high then this is the one for you. The Sunex 1410 can go up to 46.5” in height, which is almost double of what every other jack stand offers, making it suitable for bigger services of any car, be it a sedan, SUV or a truck. The Sunex product is also very heavy-duty and can withstand the weight of up to 10 tons. In reality, this is enough even for mechanics, who can rely solely on this product for every maintenance service.
These jack stands adjust via pinholes, which is a more secure way, especially when the stand is set very high. The saddle is very big and is V-shaped. Thanks to that, it can be used to cradle axles or other components under the trunk. This is really an all-in-one jack stand. On the downside, it’s very expensive – for the same money, you can have the 22 Ton OTC on our list, so if you plan on supporting very heavy vehicles, then this jack stand is not for you. It’s also not very practical for lower cars, like sports cars for example.
On the other hand, if you need a jack stand that can go very high and can be used to support other vehicle components, then this is the one to have.
10. Hein-Werner Blue/Yellow Jack Stands 3-Ton Capacity
If you plan to spend a little more money on a jack stand, then this Hein-Werner might be a good option. It’s made of a very high-quality steel that is strong and very durable. As a matter of fact, it feels more durable and strong than most items on our list – we think it can withstand a lot of abuse. It’s of the ratchet style type, which makes it very easy to use in a variety of different scenarios, albeit not as safe as pinhole type. It can carry up to 3 tons, which makes it similar to most of the items on our list. The formed base adds stability and reduces sinking into the pavement, while the wide saddle is very secure.
The reason why it is so low on our list is the price, which is simply too high for a jack stand made from steel that supports 3 tons. Competitors are much cheaper and can often be found for half the money. Sure, they may not be as strong, but we are sure that any item on our list is strong enough for best possible safety when working on your car.
What is a Jack Stand?
Designed to support the weight of a vehicle lifted off the ground, jack stands are essential if you’re working underneath your car. Don’t be fooled into thinking a floor jack is enough to safely support the weight of your car. You’ll want jack stands to secure the vehicle, rather than relying on the floor jack, which can slip or fail leading to a potentially fatal disaster. Most jack stands have a similar shape and design but there are a few things you need to know before choosing the right one.
How to Choose the Right Jack Stand
The most important factor when shopping for jack stands is to check their load ratings. Most jack stands will say they support 2 tons and up, but keep in mind that’s typically for a pair of jack stands. So if you’re purchasing a pair of 2-ton jack stands, each stand is actually rated to support 1 ton. Check the weight of your vehicle to make sure the jack stands you’re purchasing will support the weight of your vehicle.
To do this, look for your vehicle’s curb weight in your owner’s manual and ensure the jack stands you’re purchasing will support the curb weight of your car. Keep in mind that the weight distribution of your vehicle likely won’t be even front to back, especially if your car has an engine up front. To be on the safe side, you’ll want to round up your vehicle’s curb weight when comparing the load ratings on the jack stands you’re purchasing.
Another factor to consider is the weight of the jack stand. Most jack stands are constructed of steel, which makes them a bit heavy and difficult to carry or move around. There are companies that manufacture aluminum jack stands, which will be lighter than their steel counterparts. If the weight of a jack stand is a concern, choose an aluminum option.
Lastly, if you own a crossover, SUV, or pickup truck, you’ll want to consider the lift height of a jack stand to ensure it can accommodate your vehicle. You’ll want jack stands that can be adjusted to a higher setting to support a crossover, SUV, or truck. The opposite applies too, if you own a lowered sports car or exotic. In that case, you’ll want a jack stand that has a lower starting height to make sure it fits underneath your car.
How to Properly Use a Jack Stand
Anytime you’re lifting your car off the ground, the first thing you want to do is make sure you’re parked on a flat and level surface. Engage your car’s parking brake and use wheel chocks around your wheels. From there, locate a safe spot underneath your car for your floor jack—you can check your car’s manual to find the best places to lift your car.
Once your car is off the ground with the floor jack, set the jack stand underneath the pinch points of your vehicle. These are typically found on the sides of your vehicle, between the front and rear tires. If your car doesn’t have any pinch points, you can put the jack stands underneath your vehicle’s frame. Adjust the height of the jack stand as necessary and use the safety pin to keep it in place.
After that, slowly lower the floor jack so the car rests safely on the jack stands. Give your vehicle a good nudge to make sure it’s sturdy before going underneath it. When you’re done working on your car, lift it back up with the floor jack, lower the jack stands, and remove them before slowly lowering your car back to the ground with the floor jack.
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