Floor Jack vs Bottle Jack

Floor Jack vs Bottle Jack: Battle of the Jacks

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Surely, at some point, you will find yourself in need of immediate car repair or perform car maintenance. Majority of the time, you will need to be able to jack the vehicle up, and while there are really quite a few options available to do this, a hydraulic jack is the most common way to do so. Hence, we decided to talk about the most common ones, the floor jack vs bottle jack.

The floor jack and the bottle jack are possibly the most common and widely used jacks out there. Majority of the folks already have a preference on which one is better, but both have equal uses in a garage. So, if you want to know which one to choose, you’re on the right page.

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What Is a Floor Jack?

A floor jack is a kind of jack which will rest right under the vehicle and is operated hydraulically. It has two essential parts namely a piston pump which is operated by hand, and the other is a cylinder assembly.

Typically, people use a floor jack as it allows them to lift their vehicle to a significantly greater vertical height. This is done by using the hand-operated pump, which resembles a handle but is longer. This is then pulled forward and turned.

When you turn it, it opens up a valve. This allows the hydraulic fluid to enter into the cylinder assembly which in turn works in lifting the vehicle upwards.

In terms of sizes, a floor jack is available in two. The first one is a larger one which is approximately a 200-pound model which is capable of lifting vehicles that weigh between four and 10 tons. The other one is a smaller one which can lift up to 1.5 tons of vehicles.

These two sizes are the standard ones available everywhere in the market. There is also a large selection of mini-jacks. These small-sized jacks are capable of lifting various weights and have a very compact size and design. 

What Is a Bottle Jack?

Bottle jacks are slightly different from floor jacks. To use them, they need to be mounted vertically. These have a more straightforward design which makes it able to lift more weight and that too at higher elevations.

In terms of sizing, they are quite small in comparison to the standard size floor jack. This allows them to be stored quite easily and they are also cheaper.

Using a bottle jack is quite simple. All you really need to do is place the bottle jack under the vehicle. For the next step, you need to turn the small piston in a counterclockwise direction so that you can adjust the piston's height. Once that is done, you have to locate the valve towards the bottom of the jack.

There is also a key at the top of the handle assembly, which is designed to let you open the valve. You have to keep turning this until it is tight enough and then the handle can be placed into the shaft. With an easy pumping action, you will be able to raise the vehicle higher slowly. 

Floor Jack vs Bottle Jack: Which Is the Better One?

By reading this far, there is one thing between the two jacks that may have clearly caught your attention. That is the bottle jack can raise a vehicle higher than the floor jack and is also quite cheaper. So, the most obvious assumption would be that the bottle jack is a better option, but there are some disadvantages to it too.

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Choosing the Right Type of Jack

The kind of jack you end up choosing will majorly depend on the need. So, for anyone deciding between the floor jack and the bottle jack, the answer changes depending on the person and the vehicle. In terms of ease of use, each of them is comparable as they both operate using a hydraulic mechanism.

The Case for Floor Jacks

One of the major advantages of a floor jack is that they tend to be more stable. This is mainly because of its size. A floor jack is quite large which means that it distributes the weight of the vehicle it carries over a larger area. This makes the vehicle falling off from the jack very unlikely.

Certain models also come with wheels that allow the jack to be easily moved around along with the vehicle instead of causing the vehicle to fall. This is a great feature, and it is especially helpful when you need to perform repairs under the vehicle.

Without a doubt, the floor jacks’ size is a significant drawback. They are quite large and are very heavy than bottle jacks, so they cannot be considered portable. Floor jacks are an ideal choice if you plan to work on the vehicle in the driveway or the garage.

The Case for Bottle Jacks

Undoubtedly, a bottle jack will lift more weight, but it requires more ground clearance. This makes it a perfect choice for individuals with trucks as they tend to be extremely heavy and are quite high from the ground.

Since this jack is smaller in size compared to floor jacks, the weight of the vehicle gets distributed over a smaller area. This means that the raised vehicle is not stable, so it is advisable not to be performing any repairs underneath the vehicle that is lower to the ground when it is raised on a bottle jack.

That being said, if you are the kind who wants a jack only to change tires, then the bottle jack is without a doubt a better option than the floor jack. This will easily allow you to raise your vehicle and is much faster than those manufacturer-provided jacks. Furthermore, because of its small size, it makes it highly portable and easy to travel around with. 


All-in-all, the floor jack vs bottle jack debate doesn’t exactly have a clear winner. As you can see, both these jacks are good in their own way and come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. But now that you know where their strengths lie, you can make an informed decision.

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