Floor Jack Vs Bottle Jack

When looking to buy a car jack, you can easily feel overwhelmed with the number of search results and different types of jacks you can find. In this post, you will learn the basics of a floor jack vs bottle jack.

These are two of the most popular types of hydraulic jacks out there. Even though they are used to perform similar kinds of jobs, their differences are very significant.

These jacks are built to perform different types of jobs. It is relatively easy to know the differences between them.

Brief Overview

Floor Jacks

Also known as trolley jacks or service jacks, floor jacks are often found in car workshops and professional garages. Their lifting capacity varies depending on their design and material, but they tend to be considerably stronger and sturdier than mechanical jacks.
These jacks are specifically built to perform mechanical works on cars, which explains its popularity and why this is the one you have probably seen the most.

Bottle Jacks

Another popular type of hydraulic jack commonly found in workshops is the bottle jack. It’s named after the fact that its shape and size resemble a bottle. But, don’t let that fool you.

These jacks are powerful, and use a piston mechanism to lift a vehicle in just a few pumps. This makes them a popular choice when it comes to lifting tractors, lift forks, and other pieces of heavy machinery.

Main Features

Floor jacks are not compact and are not usually suitable for being transported in your car.

These jacks are relatively big and heavy, and they should be used only on hard surfaces. This makes them a great option for workshops and home garages of all sizes.
Trolley jacks are equipped with wheels, or casters, that allow you to move and position them under your vehicle easily. Once they are positioned under your vehicle’s lift point, you pump the jack’s arm repeatedly to lift your vehicle, until it reaches the desired height.


man liftig car

Floor jacks are precisely designed to lift low cars. That is why in this image you can see how a mechanic can easily jack up a sedan. You must place the jack right under a car and proceed to lift up.
Regular sedans and sports cars weight are usually in the 3 to 6 tons range, so floor jacks usually come in this capacity.

Man Lifting SUV with a Floor Jack

It is possible to use floor jacks on SUVs as seen in the above image. Adding a lifting handle (typically comes in bottle jacks) allows the jack to height for better reach.

Keep in mind when using a floor jack for heavy vehicles, you will need one with much higher capacity.

Bottle jacks, also called piston jacks, have one major drawback: they’re retracted height is just half of the total lifting height. This will only allow you to place the jack under a vehicle before doing the lifting.

They are not suitable for lower vehicles and sports cars, so they are only used for trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles with much higher clearances. These have the capacity to lift heavy machinery. Piston jacks have weight capacity of up to 50 tons.

Due to its strong capacity, this type of jack can be used to lift many other heavy objects. Other very common type of use is for repairs on house foundations.

That being said, bottle jacks are awesome alternatives for a home garage or auto workshop. They are robust, take up less space than floor jacks, and can safely lift relatively heavy automobiles.


Red bottle jack
Bottle Jack

As seen here, bottle Jacks come at much higher height, which is one of the reasons it makes it more suitable floor SUVs. It is as simple as placing the jack right under the vehicle and proceed to do the lifting.

Bottle Jack lifting a tree
Bottle Jack

Due to its strength, bottle jacks can be used for other jobs as seen on this image. In this example, a bottle jack is being used to lift a huge tree and its capacity can easily assist and taking down this tree.

As long as there is enough space underneath to place a bottle jack, you can use it to lift objects as heavy as 20,000 pounds.


Cost Comparison

Even though jacks come at different prices depending on size, materials, and brands, bottle jacks can usually be found at lower prices due to its small size and portability. It is much easier to find a good quality bottle jack under a hundred dollars.

Price shouldn’t be the main factor when comparing the two jacks, as there are other more important features to consider.

Floor Jacks Under $100

Bottle Jacks win in this category as there much easier to find below the $100 price tag. This is mainly due to materials. Piston jack require less material to build and are smaller in size.

Don’t let the low prices on these jacks fool you, since these can be found of high quality and strong lifting capacity.

Even though it is possible to find floor jacks under $100, it is much harder. It is also difficult to find higher quality ones under this price. It is recommended that you carefully look for trolley jacks at different prices depending on the specifications that you are looking for.

Which Jack Type Is Best For You?

It really comes down to what type of vehicle you  need to work on.

A floor jack is the best option for sedans and other small size vehicles such as sports cars. Since this type jack can be used to most cars out there, you are more likely to see professional mechanics use them.

Bottle jacks are best suited for bigger vehicle and heavy machinery. If you own an SUV or are looking to work on a tractor, bottle jack is certainly the way to go. This jack can also be used for other types of heavy lifting.

Keep in mind that aside from car work, bottle jacks have other uses because of its strong capacity. If you are in need of doing heavy lifting for other objects or machineries, you should definitely look into buying on.