Best Jack Stands: Hit It, Jack

Vivek Nayyar
by Vivek Nayyar

Top 8 Best Jack Stands

Cinder blocks, welded-together steel wheels, janky-looking lengths of board – most of us know we’re not supposed to rest the weight of a car or truck on anything other than a pair of stout jack stands. Whether or not we actually do this is better left unsaid.

We’ve gathered an octet of jack stand options from Amazon ranging in category from featherweight to heavyweight. At their core, all of them do the same job – keeping a car off your noggin – but some of them have a few unique features in addition to being hewn from a variety of metals.

And I’ll get this one in here before VerticalScope lawyers appear from their caves with the Legal Hammer: Always take extra caution when working on any vehicle, especially when it is being supported by jack stands. Now, pitch those cinder blocks in the nearest dumpster and take a gander at these options.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: Pro-Lift Double Pin Jack Stands

These brutes are made of sturdy stamped steel and are rated at 3.5 tons of capacity. The operation of its cast-iron ratchet bar will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s used a set of jack stands in, oh, the last hundred years. Handle locks and a mobility pin work together to keep the vehicle off terra firma. Its height may not be suitable for low-slung cars.

A quick note about weight ratings, a measure you’ll notice goes unmentioned on our header titles. This is on purpose. Typically, jack stands are sold in pairs and given a weight rating based on what the two of them can support together. This is not a total scam, given that one should always use jack stands in pairs. However, it may cause confusion if you’re rummaging through your old storage locker and find just a one unit. To be safe, halve the capacity stamped on the face of a single stand.

Pros

  • Sturdy, double locking mechanism

Cons

  • Sturdy means heavy, also tall

Bottom Line

  • Nearly two-foot max height is very convenient

2. BIG RED Torin Aluminum Jack Stands

Different in shape and construction than the traditional-style stands shown above, these cylinder-esque units have a lift range of just under 11 inches to about 15.5 inches. Their foot base has a large surface contributing to a good footprint for extra stability. The seller says the saddle, the part that comes in contact with the load, is also bigger than average.

Since the weight is theoretically distributed over a larger area, this style of jack should not sink into the gound when a car's weight is borne upon it. However, one shouldn't be putting a car on jack stands over soft ground. Regardless, it's hard to argue with extra stability (this goes for jack stands and, erm, significant others).

Pros

  • Unique design, solid footprint

Cons

  • Fiddly release

Bottom Line

  • A lightweight option

3. AmazonBasics Steel Jack Auto Stands

It’s important to recognize that the house Bezos Brand is a good choice for the budget-conscious but its products may not be as feature-laden as some of its competitors. This pair of jack stands are good for bearing about 2 tons of capacity; good enough for most people but far from the top of this list. Stands with higher ratings are available from the same brand.

Feedback from customers is positive at first blush, with over 92 percent of nearly 7,600 shoppers giving them four or five stars. There are an alarming number of reviews claiming poor build quality, but it is unclear if users tried to support a car that exceeded the lightweight 2-ton rating. After all, even a milquetoast all-wheel-drive family crossover weighs more than that these days.

Pros

  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Some scary reviews

Bottom Line

  • Do yer research and use within reason

4. ESCO 10498 Jack Stand

Here is one of the few products on our list that is sold individually, not in pairs. Hey, at least it makes it easier to determine the weight capacity of the thing. A rubber pad in the saddle (insert your crude jokes here) is a neat addition that provides an added bit of protection against scratching the car's paint. The base itself is powder-coated.

Speaking of the base, its feet are circular - like the saddle - which should give it an extra measure of stability. At 11 pounds it isn't the lightest jack stand in the world but there are some products, this being one of them, in which your author is comforted by a bit of heft. I'll let you guess what the others are.

Pros

  • Round saddle and feet, rubber bumper

Cons

  • Not sold in pairs

Bottom Line

  • Don't forget to buy two

5. OTC Low Profile Jack Stand

Every now and then, we'll toss a recommendation into our list for the pros in our audience. These jack stands can bear an astonishing twelve tons and, since they're sold by the each, that's the amount of weight for which they are individually rated. Theoretically, then, a quartet of these stands could hold up nearly a hundred thousand pounds. We don't recommend this.

A spun steel base is said to no dig or sink into asphalt or sand. While it is advertised as low profile, the lowest range of its height is 19 inches. According to the listing, this stand weighs only three pounds. If that's even close to correct, and we have no reason to believe it isn't, this is surely one of the greatest weight-to-weight ratios in anyone's toolbox.

Pros

  • Brutish capacity, low profile design

Cons

  • Ungodly expensive

Bottom Line

  • For the pros

6. Performance Tool W41022

Great for cars and light-duty trucks, this pair of jack stands have a rated capacity of 3 tons or 6,000 lbs. They are advertised as having a heavy-duty construction with a sturdy and durable steel frame. Its base is said to be wide to provide strength and stability under load. It is of a traditional four-foot design, however.

These stands have an 11.25-inch to 16.75-inch range of rise height and have a traditional-style ratcheting action for their locks. The stand’s footprint is about 7.4 inches square. Reviews are largely positive but a couple of customers complain of receiving products that looked like returns. They are available in several different weight classes, ranging from 2 Ton weaklings to 12 Ton behemoths.

Pros

  • Traditional style makes them familiar to use

Cons

  • Hardly a unique choice

Bottom Line

  • What you see is what you get

7. Omega Lift Pin-Style Jack Stand

One of the more unique items on this list are these snazzy things from a company called Omega (not the watch). They are 22-ton pin jack stands designed to support your vehicle after lifting it skyward with a floor jack. It features a wide base to provide added strength and stable support. That big handle makes positioning the thing a breeze

With the lifting range from 12-5/8 inches to 20-1/16 inches, you'll be able to nestle the saddle-surface area underneath any number of small cars, trucks, or SUVs. That stout pin used to lock the thing in place looks robust enough to withstand the forthcoming apocalypse. Its casters are apparently spring-loaded, providing mobility but only when not under a load.

Pros

  • Too-cool design, many handy features, brutish weight limit

Cons

  • That price it tough to absorb

Bottom Line

  • Shiny bling to blind your pit box neighbors

8. Sunex Low-Height Pin-Type Jack Stands

Looking for all the world like a set of moon landers or alien spacecraft, these jack stands are rated for a hefty 10 tons. They are low in height, permitting DIYers to get them underneath the most nimble of sports cars (or the frame rails of a sagging hooptie - the latter is most likely for our readership and authors, by the way).

Its four-leg steel base is stout and made of heavy pipe, avoiding the flat-panel design of some other options on this list. Its large V-shaped saddle should do a good job of cradling axles or other under-vehicle components.

Pros

  • Neat looks, high weight rating

Cons

  • Costly

Bottom Line

  • Dare to be different

Who makes good quality jack stands?

Although every manufacturer claims that it produces the best quality jack stands, the following is a list of those that have received a good star rating from Amazon users:

BIG RED T43202 ( Buy here!)

Marked as Amazon’s Choice, this is a 3-ton jack stand pair with height adjustments that range from 11.25” to 16.75”.

Amazon Basics Steel Jack Auto Stands ( Buy here!)

As the name suggests, this pair of 3-ton jack stands is from Amazon Basics and has received a decent number of positive reviews from consumers.

Pro-Lift T-6903D ( Buy here!)

These are the universal fit jack stands that can hold up to 3-tons of weight.

Depending on your preference and budget, you can pick any among the three that are listed above.

What rating jack stands do I need?

According to ASME PASE-2014 standard ratings, the load capacity of all jack stands must be now calculated in a pair. For instance, if the stand’s rating is 4-tons, it means that each piece can hold only 2-tons of weight, and a pair of jack stands (2 stands) can hold 4-tons in total.

With that in mind, if your car weighs 2-tons to 3-tons, to be on the safer side, you should buy a pair of jack stands that are rated as 4-tons (2-tons each), assuming that you will lift the front or rear portion of the automotive at a time that has approximately half a weight of the vehicle, i.e., 1 or 1.5-ton for this example.

Do I need 3-ton or 6-ton jack stands?

The answer to this question depends on the total weight of your vehicle. Practically, you usually lift the front or rear two tires at a time. Considering this, on paper, generally, what you would do is check the overall weight of your car (with all the accessories) and divided it by two. The figure that you get as a result is the approximate weight of the front or rear portion of the automotive that the jack stand should be able to hold.

For instance, if the weight of your drive is 4-tons, after dividing it by two, you get 2-tons. This should be the minimum load that your jack stand should be able to handle. However, many professionals suggest that you should never go for a stand with the minimal load holding capacity as it could be dangerous and/or may not serve the purpose well.

With that said, you should always go for a pair of stands that can hold more than the weight you intend to use it for. In general, you should consider getting:

3-tons Jack Stands – For a small, medium, or large vehicle, typically a hatchback or a mid-sized sedan/SUV

6-tons Jack Stands – For a large SUV or truck

Are Harbor Freight jack stands safe now?

Well, they seem so.

According to a report by NHTSA, over 4,822 people got injured annually due to the collapsing stands with more than 96 percent of victims rushed to emergency rooms. After that, in May 2020, the company recalled around 1.7 million 3-tons and 6-tons faulty stands.

Although they have realized that there was some issue with those jack stands and (apparently) the company has rectified the flaw, it may take a bit more than a couple of years to regain consumers’ trust.

Coming back to the first point, they seem that they are safe now. However, to avoid any mishaps, you are advised not to go for them right away.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Pisitphol / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Vivek Nayyar
Vivek Nayyar

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2 of 9 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on May 09, 2022

    All of these base designs have potential issues with an exposed aggregate (pebble finish) driveway, as parts of the base will rest on the 'high spots'. And it gets worse after 35 years when the concrete wears away faster than the pebbles, leaving the aggregate more exposed and the high spots higher. Just something to consider if you ever start a company making jack stands. (Or if you want to work underneath your vehicle without squishing your head like a grape.) Also, rolling a floor jack along an exposed aggregate driveway will generate impressive levels of very unpleasant sound.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on May 09, 2022

    I'll never use jack stands without a pin-style height adjustment. The rack type which was twice-recalled by Harbor Freight convinced me that a cool and/or convenient design is not always safe.

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