Jack stands are usually used in tangent with floor jacks to perform maintenance or other work that requires you to get underneath your vehicle. Vehicle lifts and stands come in various styles, prices, and functionality, but jacks stands are the simplest way to complete the work needing to be done to your vehicle safely and inexpensively.
Because jack stands’ main purpose is to support the weight of your vehicle at the frame or axels, they are much better than DIY alternatives like cinderblocks. They also take up less space than wheel ramps, which are also usually non-adjustable.
The Best Jack Stands
Jack stands provide the flexibility to raise and lower the height of a vehicle to accommodate certain conditions. They come in various weight ratings to accommodate anything from small cars to large farm equipment.
1. Pro-LifT Double Pin Jack Stand
The Pro-LifT T-6906D jack stand is an affordable product with a five-star overall consumer rating to back up its quality. Under $50 will get buyers a pair of these 6-ton stands, though they are noted to be hard to find outside of the online market.
Both a pin lock and handle lock ensure the safest use for commercial or industrial applications. It is made with stamped steel legs and a cast ductile iron ratchet bar for overall strength and durability. All of these materials help the Pro-LifT stands exceed ANSI/PALD standards, the governing body for automotive lifting devices.
These lifts can raise and support a car, truck, or small piece of farm equipment up to 22-inches in the air with ratchet bar notch intervals of three-quarters of an inch. Fully collapsed, the total height comes to fifteen inches.
2. US Jack 3-Ton Garage Stand
US Jack is proud to say that their products are utilized by the United States Military and companies like Lockheed Martin, Snap-On, and Boeing. Additionally, every part of each stand they sell is made completely in the United States with United States-sourced materials.
The D-41609 garage stands are rated at up to three tons each and come in pairs. For those who need more support, six-ton stands are also available. Two pawls lock with two separate teeth on the ratchet bar to provide the additional safety of a double locking system.
The ratchet bar is made from ductile iron and the legs are made from stamped steel. They can extend to a maximum height of nearly eighteen inches.
3. ESCO Jack Stands
ESCO 10498 jack stands feature a much different design than the first two stands, however, they remain highly-rated and affordable.
Unlike other offerings, they feature a three-legged tripod-style base with flat rounded ends that provide added stability. This product also features a unique, soft, removable saddle for better fitment when placing on the underside of a chassis. Its malleable top is also able to conform itself to axles if that is preferred.
Its three-ton load capacity is supported by an adjustable beam that has five separate height adjustments, and the product is powder-coated to prevent rust and corrosion. At their highest setting, these stands can extend to twenty-one-and-a-half inches off the ground and lower to just over thirteen inches.
4. Hein-Werner Jack Stands
Hein Warner HW93506 jack stands feature a stylish, safe, and easy way to prop your vehicle up to over twenty-five inches in height. One of the taller offerings in our list, these jack stands are also rated to six tons for various commercial or personal uses at home or in the workshop.
A formed steel frame with four legs assures stability, less ground destruction, and strong overall construction. All of this durability is met with practicality because its saddle column release serves as a transportation handle as well. Being larger and taller than other competitors, both of these jacks also come in at a higher combined total of 41 pounds.
A two-year warranty comes with the purchase of each pair of stands and starts from the date of purchase.
5. BIG RED Torin Aluminum Jack Stands
The Big Red T43004 Torin Aluminum Jack Stands stand out from the others on this list because of their design. They are similar to the ESCO stands in that they contain a beam with height adjustments rather than ratchet teeth, but the BIG RED stands feature a single, wide base for stability rather than a tripod or quad-pod shape.
These lightweight stands can support up to three tons each and feature a simple pin locking system for additional ease of use. Their aluminum makeup provides both the strength and reduced weight desired for enthusiasts and professionals, though the stands only extend to just under sixteen inches.
Its removable base makes it easy to store and transport and a limited one-year manufacturer’s warranty provides peace of mind should something go wrong.
Dissecting a Jack Stand
Jack stands are made up of several different moving parts since most feature some level of height adjustment, usually between fifteen and twenty-five inches.
The base of a jack stand usually includes three or four legs. Sometimes a single flat base with a wide area is used instead and can be removable depending on the product. The size and material of the base often determine its amount of stability. The wider the base and the better materials used, the stronger the jack stand has the potential to be.
Ratchet Bar/Support Bar
The ratchet or support bar is the second main part of a jack base and it is responsible for the raising and lowering of the vehicle. Ratchet bars have teeth that lock in place, and support bars usually have holes in which a pin is placed to keep the vehicle height at a certain position.
The saddle is the curved or flat part of the jack at the top of the ratchet or support bar that comes into contact with the frame or axle of a vehicle. Most saddles are curved or grooved to fit the curvature of an axle or vehicle frame.
The locking handle is another moveable part of the jack stand, and it is responsible for the allowable movement of the ratchet bar and subsequent locking of the ratchet bar at any given height. It can be released when the jack is ready to be returned to its lowest height for easy storage.
The locking pawl is the mechanism responsible for keeping the ratchet teeth locked in place without collapsing. Even though the handle can be used to raise and release the ratchet bar, the pawl is the mechanism for physically locking the stand in place at its desired height.
A pin is similar to a locking pawl on jack stands that contain a support bar rather than a ratchet bar. It is another type of locking mechanism used to keep the stands from collapsing once raised. Some jack stands contain both a locking pawl and pin to add an extra level of safety.
Types of Jack Stands
There are only two distinct types of jack stands: Adjustable and non-adjustable. Both are fairly easy to find and can be useful to anybody.
Adjustable jack stands are usually a little more expensive because they have more moving parts and the added benefit of height adjustment.
Among the adjustable jack stands available there are those with ratchet bars and those that utilize support beams for adjustment. Stands with ratchet bars are usually more adjustable because the teeth are closer together than in support beams. Stands with support beams usually utilize a circular pin, pushed through their tubular frame to lock them into place.
There are other types of vehicle support mechanisms, but those products venture into the vehicle lifts category and are much more complicated than simple jack stands.
Tips for Using Jack Stands
The first major tip for using jack stands is to read the instructions on each product. This is usually taken for granted, but jack stands are meant to support the weight of a vehicle while you perform maintenance underneath it. If the jack stands are used incorrectly, the results could be fatal.
The placement of the saddle on the axle or frame of a vehicle is very important. Each vehicle and each stand has a specific place in which supports can be placed. Along with reading the instructions, it is important to know your vehicle and the places that jack stands can be used. Placing stands correctly can prevent your vehicle from sustaining permanent damage.
Jack stand ratings must be followed. Knowing your vehicle’s weight will also guide you toward buying jacks stands that are appropriate for your particular vehicle. You should never buy stands that are rated for less than your vehicle weighs.
Working with jack stands requires a flat surface for maximum stability. Using them on an uneven surface can make them collapse.
Jack stands are great tools that are designed to be sturdy and safe and can greatly benefit you and the work you need to perform underneath your vehicle. Many people think that simply using a single vehicle jack will get the job done, but jack stands are much safer and provide an affordable alternative.
Using them correctly is the key to your success and theirs. It is pertinent to use them on a flat surface and within their weight parameters. Reading the instructions on each jack stand product you buy will further ensure that they will work their best and that your safety will not be jeopardized.