A good quality, safe, trolley jack is an essential bit of kit for any car owner to aid safely lifting their car off the ground and carry out regular maintenance. The key word here is safety, paramount at all times of course.
Important point – The manufacturer supplied jack that should be in the boot of your car is far from safe and should only be used in an absolute emergency circumstance! You should never clamber underneath a vehicle unless it is safely supported axle stands.
Let’s take a look at the best trolley jacks, analyse their performance and look at the differences between them.
What is A Car Jack And What Is One Used For?
A trolley jack is a lifting device which is used to raise a car off the ground in order to carry out various tasks, most commonly, removing a wheel. Each and every trollet jack will have a maximum lift weight rating. For example, you may see a trolley jack which has a maximum lift rating of 1.5 tonne. It’s important to understand that this is the maximum weight limit that the jack can lift and safely support and should never be exceeded. The limit is relating to the corner of the vehicle that you’re lifting at any one time. So, if your car weighs 1.8 tonne overall, 1.8 tonne divided 4 for each corner of the vehicle = 450KG. This means that a 1.5 tonne jack will safely lift each corner of the vehicle safely.
Your car will more than likely have a jack inside the boot compartment which was supplied from the manufacturer when the vehicle was sold from new, this will not be a trolley jack. Manufacturer supplied jacks should only ever be used in an absolute emergency as they are not particularly safe and a car can easily fall off these types of jack which can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal.
A trolley jack allows for lifting and lowering of a vehicle in a much more controlled and safe manner. Not only this, a trolley jack can also have a much higher weight lift rating which means they can lift much heavier, larger vehicles.
What Are The Best Trolley Jacks?
Are you struggling for time and would like a brief overview of our top pick trolley jacks? No problem, here’s our top trolley jacks to help you get the job done safely;
1. Sealey 2 Tonne Low Entry Trolley Jack
The Sealey 2 Tonne Low Entry Trolley Jack takes our number one spot for the best trolley jack, it delivers exceptional performance and versatility at an extremely reasonable price point.
Sealey are known for producing some superb products and this trolley jack is no exception. It features a twin piston rocket lift system which allows for the jack to be lifted to it’s maximum height with minimal effort required. This makes it extremely easy to work with and requires little effort to lift even the heaviest of vehicles.
Once lifted, a universal joint release mechanism ensures that the car can be lowered back down to the ground in a much more controlled and safer way. This isn’t the case on lesser quality jacks and can be dangerous to say the least. This Sealey trolley jack allows for precision lowering to ensure safety at all times.
This trolley jack has been designed with low riding sports cars in mind. It requires a ground clearance of just 73mm in order to slide underneath a car and onto the jack mounting points meaning that it’ll lift almost all cars.
It’s constructed from heavy duty steel which is extremely hard wearing and also provides excellent endurance and stability.
Lastly, it’s available in a range of colours. Choose from Green, Blue, Red, or Orange.
The key features of the Sealey 2 Tonne Low Entry Trolley Jack are;
- Twin piston rocket lift system
- Universal joint release mechanism
- Designed for use with low riding sports cars
- Heavy Duty steel construction
- 1 year manfuacturer guarantee
2. Sealey 3 Tonne Long Chassis High Lift Trolley Jack
With an impressive range of features and qualities, the Sealey 3 Tonne Long Chassis High Lift Trolley Jack comes a very close runner up in this review. It features an impressive maximum lift height of 533mm and a whopping 3 tonne lift rating. Is it the best trolley jack to buy? It’s certainly a noble second and we feel you wouldn’t go wrong with this trolley jack.
It’s designed for and applicable for use on SUV’s, cars and light commercial vehicles which require a high ground clearance.
A tough pump bracket ensures durability and longevity and a safety valve is only incorporated to prevent overloading the jack, an important safety feature.
A rubber grip is incorporated into the lifting handle which makes the jack pleasant and easy to use.
It’s supplied with a 1 year manufacturer guarantee from Sealey for added peace of mind and assurance.
The key features of the Sealey 3 Tonne Long Chassis High Lift Trolley Jack are;
- 533mm lift height
- 3 tonne lift rating
- Designed for use on Cars, SUV’s and light commercial vehicles
- 1 year manufacturer guarantee
3. RAC 2 Tonne Trolley Jack
The RAC HP218A is a compact, strong and durable jack with a lifting capacity of 2 tonne. It has a lifting range of 135mm-342mm which should be more than adequate for most vehicles.
The jack comes with a two-piece extendable handle with a rubber grip and rear ‘swivel’ wheels which make the jack easy to steer and maneuver.
Admittedly, this isn’t a powerhouse of a jack and certainly not as capable as the Sealey models in the top two spots but if you’re looking for a more light weight jack for occasional use, this may be the one for you. Impressively, it comes with a storage case which allows for keeping the jack safe and ensuring it doesn’t cause damage to your car if being stored in the boot.
Included is an extendable two piece handle system which incorporates a rubber grip and a smaller handle is included to carry the jack around with if need be.
It’s heavy duty TUV and is GS approved.
The key features of the RAC 2 Tonne Trolley Jack are;
- Lifting range of 135-342mm
- Lift rating of 2 tonne
- Two piece extendable handle with rubber grip
- Storage case included
4. Sealey 2tonne Low Entry Short Chassis Trolley Jack
Another fantastic trolley jack from Sealey, the 1020LEHV delivers outstanding performance and versatility. It has an impressive saddle height of 85/385mm and a chassis length of 563mm making it one of the best trolley jacks that money can buy.
It’s a tough bit of kit this and sports an extremely heavy duty chassis with strengthened flanges along the top edge for additional rigidity when under load.
With an extremely low clearance of just 85mm, this trolley jack is perfect for low or customised sports cars.
Weighing just 12.7KG, it’s surprisingly light weight and easy to move around.
Incorporated into the design is a heavy duty, one piece hydraulic unit with pump-through action which helps prevent against the handle locking up at maximum extension. Importantly, a safety valve prevents over loading.
Finally, it’s available in a range of different colours such as green, orange, blue and red.
The key features of the Sealey 2tonne Low Entry Short Chassis Trolley Jack are;
- Saddle height of 85/385mm
- Chassis length of 563mm
- Weighs 12.7KG
- One piece hydraulic unit
- Available in different colours
- 1 year manufacturer guarantee
5. Heyner Germany Car Trolley Jack 2.25 Tons
A heavy duty, low profile jack which performs exceptionally well. An impressive lifting rating of 2.25 tonne means that this jack will lift pretty much anything to ensure that you can get the job done.
With a lifting range of 85-380 mm and it’s heavy duty construction, this German made trolley jack certainly ticks all the boxes. It’s been designed to work specifically with low profile vehicles but will ofcourse be equally adept at working with more traditional vehicles.
Included in the package is a soft rubber saddle insert which ensures no damage to your vehicle when raising.
A rubber grip on the handle ensures a pleasant using experience and enables solid grip at all times.
Heyner produce some superb tools and this jack is no exception, it’s extremely well made and should last a lifetime.
The key features of the Heyner Germany Car Trolley Jack 2.25 Tons are;
- 2.25 tonne lift rating
- Lifting range of 85-380 mm
- Soft rubber saddle insert included
- Rubber grip handle design
- Designed for use with low profile sports cars
What is A Low Profile Trolley Jack?
A low profile trolley jack is a trolley jack that’s been designed for use on specific vehicles where there is limited space underneath the vehicle to slide under a trolley jack. Typically speaking, this is likely to be needed for low sports cars such as a BMW M2, Audi R8 etc. A low profile trolley jack will allow to safely slide the jack underneath the car and lift it for maintenance without causing any damage to the bodywork of the car. If your car is particularly low to the ground and you try to use a conventional jack, you could end up damaging the bodywork of the car which could then potentially result in an expensive repair bill. Bigger vehicles, such as 4×4’s, will not require a low profile trolley jack as they will always have much more room and ground clearance to slide under a full size tolley jack.
How To Safely Use A Trolley Jack
Whenever working with a trolley jack and elevating a vehicle into the air, safety is absolutely paramount. Follow these important steps to ensure you’re safe at all times;
- Always ensure that the jack you’re using can safely lift the weight of your vehicle. Check the weight rating of the jack before proceeding
- Visually inspect the jack before placing it under the car. Check for any fluid leaks, cracks, damage or any obvious problems
- Ensure that the vehicle is parked on a flat, level surface. Never attempt to jack a car up that’s parked on a hill, it should always be on a flat, level surface to ensure safety.
- Always ensure that the car is in park if it’s an automatic and also ensure that the handbrake is applied fully.
- Always use the correct jack points to lift the car. Failure to do so can result in serious damage occuring to the vehicle. Jacking points will differ between all cars, you may need to refer to the vehicle manual / handbook for the information.
- Always support the vehicle fully using axle stands before beginning any work on the vehicle
What Are Axle Stands?
Axle stands, also referred to as jack stands, are used to safely support the weight of a vehicle so that it’s safe to get underneath. Technically speaking, axle stands should be used even when only changing a wheel. Most people don’t do this, they’ll simply jack the car up and swap the wheel whilst the car is being supported only the jack. This is generally almost always fine, but really, an axle stand should always be used to ensure safety at all times.
Remember this simple, top tip – A jack is used to elevate a vehicle, not to bear a load.
Axle stands are quite deceptive in their appearance as they don’t look like they are particularly strong and would be able to bare a lot of weight. Don’t let that fool you, they are constructed from extremely tough materials and can bare a lot of weight for sure.
How Do I Use An Axle Stand?
First, you’ll need to raise the car from the ground with the jack of your choice. Lift the car at the designated jacking point and once lifted to the height of your choice, check whether the axle stand will fit underneath the vehicle at the desired location. If the stand will not fit underneath, raise the car up some more via the jack. Once it’s in position, slowly lower the car down onto the axle stand ensuring that it’s making good contact with the stand and is going to be safe. Never work under a vehicle if you’re unsure whether the stand is correctly in position, always double check that it’s going to be safe before proceeding under the vehicle. Once you’re happy with the jack stand, you can safely remove the jack from the car and begin your work.
Car Jack FAQ’s
Q. Are all car jacks heavy and are they difficult to move around?
A. Car jacks are available in a range of different sizes and qualities. A small trolley jack with a lifting capacity of around 1.5 tonne will be extremely to move around and lift into the boot etc. A more substantial 3 or 4 tonne trolley jack is going to be much heavier and more difficult to maneuver, these are often found at professional garages. Whilst they are heavier and slightly more difficult to maneuver, they’ll provide much better performance and can be easily transported due to their wheel based system
Q. Can I change a wheel without using an axle stand?
A. Technically, yes you can change a wheel without using an axle stand. It’s not best practice and certainly not safe but as long as you’re using a good quality jack, on a level ground and you’ve checked all of the other pre requisites, you should be ok. The general rule is always safety first and that would mean using an axle stand at all times.
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