Whether it’s working on the hydraulic system, replacing the brake pads, or just fixing a minor leak, lifting your vehicle is an inevitable endeavor you must perform regularly. Now, when lifting a vehicle, there are three main factors you must consider. One is the weight of your vehicle, the second is the height of your car’s lift point and the last one is the type of jack you’ll be using. About the jack, you’ll have to pick between floor jack vs. trolley jack.
Now, a floor jack and a trolley jack look pretty much the same. In fact, most professionals fail to understand which jack to pick between the two when accomplishing their lifting demands. But, despite having major similarities, these jacks have minor differences that set them apart.
For instance, floor jacks are lightweight and are considered low-cost lifting solutions. On the other hand, trolley jacks are robust heavy structures that offer immense reliability to perform an array of applications. So, in this guide, we’ll be discussing the major differences between floor jacks and trolley jacks to see which option offers the best lifting solution.
Floor Jack vs Trolley Jack: A Complete Guide
Now, floor jacks and trolley jacks have a lot in common, especially when it comes to visual aesthetics. Both of them have long handles, saddles, and pistons. Secondly, both of these jacks are perfect candidates for lifting heavy weights and have low profiles that allow them to lift a wide range of vehicles.
But, despite these, floor jacks and trolley jacks have a few differences that set them apart. For instance, floor jacks have a horizontal pump that’s used to pump the saddle. The reason why it’s horizontal is to give the jack a low ground clearance to allow it to lift a wide range of vehicles.
For ease of mobility, floor jacks have fixed front wheels that allow easy front and back movement. The rear tires, however, are swivel or pivot casters. This makes it easier for you to move the jack sideways for easy positioning. Also, floor jacks have long handles that allow you to lift vehicles easily with less effort.
When it comes to weight, floor jacks can weigh anywhere from 10 to 80 pounds. The length can extend from 3 ft. to 5 ft. while the width can extend to over a foot wide.
When it comes to the maximum load limit, floor jacks can lift anywhere from 3 to 12 tons of total weight. The best thing about these jacks is that the size ranges from small to extremely heavy duty jacks meaning you’ll have a jack that suits your specific needs.
Just like a floor jack, a trolley jack is intended to lift vehicles and nothing more or less. This type of jack consists of a hydraulic jack and a horizontal pump that pumps up the saddle to provide the needed lift.
A trolley jack is quite common among most motorists and professional mechanics. It comes in different variations, in terms of the size and the weight range, to allow it to handle all types of vehicles.
About the construction, trolley jacks are made from heavy-duty materials such as aluminum. Unlike steel, aluminum is lighter and maneuverable. The wheels themselves are steady and low profile. When it comes to lifting, these jacks are equipped with large single or dual pistons that provide a wider lifting range as well as immense flexibility.
About the size, trolley jacks measure between 1.5 ft. to around 3 ft. in length and just a few inches in width. They can lift weights ranging from 500 pounds to several tons depending on the size.
Floor Jack Vs. Trolley Jack: Major Differences
Although we’ve discussed each jack type briefly, this is not enough to help you decide on which route to take. For that reason, we’ve included this section where we’re going to compare all the essential features of each jack to give you a clearer idea of what each jack offers individually.
- Construction and Size
Starting with the construction, there’s little to talk about here as both jacks are constructed from similar materials such as aluminum and steel. However, when it comes to size, floor jacks are typically larger and wider. Due to their thickness, these jacks tend to be a bit bulkier and steadier than trolley jacks.
- Lift Range
When it comes to the lift range, it’s essential that you pick a jack that offers a very low lifting reach that’s enough to fit under low-clearance vehicles. Trolley jacks, for instance, are designed to offer a low-end reach of 5 inches and a maximum lift of 10 to 15 inches.
Floor jacks, on the other hand, are designed to offer the lowest lift of 3 inches and below and a maximum lift of 14 to 21 inches. As you can see, floor jacks are considered the best as they offer a wider lift range as compared to trolley jacks. The only issue with these jacks is that they’re way bulkier than trolley jacks.
- Weight Capacity
When it comes to the weight capacity, floor jacks are considered the mightiest. A medium-sized trolley jack can lift weights ranging from 500 pounds to around 3000 pounds (3 tons). A medium-sized floor jack, on the other hand, can lift a maximum weight of 1 ton to 5 tons. Some heavy-duty models can lift up to 12 tons.
Now, in most cases, the weight capacity depends on the jack model you pick and the purpose. But, despite that, floor jacks are generally stronger than trolley jacks when it comes to weight capacity.
- Ease of Use and Movement
From what we’ve discussed, trolley jacks are generally lighter and smaller in size as compared to floor jacks. These features make trolley jacks easier to use and move. About mobility, trolley jacks are fitted with swivel wheels that make forward-backward and side movement a breeze.
When it comes to floor jacks, these ones only offer forward and backward movement with just a few models offering the same mobility as trolley jacks. When it comes to ease of use, floor jacks are bigger and bulkier making them harder to operate.
Floor Jack Vs. Trolley Jack: Pros and Cons
Advantages of Floor Jacks
- Floor jacks require less effort to operate
- They have a higher lifting capacity of 3 to 6 tons
- They have super strong construction to withstand heavy loads
- They have a low profile design
- Floor jacks are very heavy
- Mobility is limited by their heavyweights
Advantages of Trolley Jacks
- Swivel wheels make mobility a breeze
- They’re lighter and easy to carry
- Can be used on light and extremely heavy vehicles
- Perfect for vehicles with a low-ground clearance
- Quite challenging to set up
- Doesn’t work well on uneven grounds
Choosing between floor jack vs. trolley jack can be quite challenging if you’re not aware of what each jack offers. When it comes to their visual aesthetics, both of these jacks share a myriad of similarities. However, when it comes to their differences, there’s a lot that sets them apart.
In this guide, we’ve managed to discuss some of the major differences between floor jacks and trolley jacks to help you decide on which route to take. So, whether you’re a professional mechanic or an enthusiast DIYer, choosing between a floor jack and a trolley jack will not be a tad overwhelming, provided you have this information.