I wrote a weirdly popular tech article 20 years ago, before I even started Vorshlag, and it had millions of readers over the next decade and a half. I changed websites and formats since then and let it disappear a few years back... so today I bring a much summarized but updated version to the Vorshlag forums.

In that first test I tested 4 popular floor jacks and measured all sorts of things - how low and how high they could lift, what did they weigh, what did they cost, how were the hydraulics? As the article gained popularity the number of jacks I tested grew to over a dozen.

Over the years I have bought lots more floor jacks, but the prices have mostly stopped dropping, and the designs have mostly been copying each other with almost no real changes for years.

The NASCAR teams made these light aluminum jacks popular back in the day, but they are $900+ for quality US made units. China copied these and made them *cheap*. There are a LOT of choices today, and virtually none of them are made outside of China.

Steel floor jacks have improved in quality and dropped in price radically in this same time period. The old standard Lincoln / Snap On / Matco jacks have all gone overseas since then. I will share the current findings of what makes for a proper "Track Jack", and also what makes for a good "Shop Jack".


These lightweight track jacks tend to have the same features. A single "mono-wheel" on the front and handles on one or both sides, for easy transport. The low weight is easier on your back when loading this in and out of your race gear. These come in 3 basic sizes, and I give my recommendations for each below:

Pittsburgh 1.5 ton (3000 pound capacity) LINK - $60. (shown next to the red Matco jack in a picture above) These are really tiny, super lightweight, super cheap jacks but I have had BAD things happen to these. They are honestly too small for even track use. At $59.99 it is laughably cheap and I still have one in my trailer for emergencies. But I have watched a few of these *literally explode* when abused. Parts flying, collapsing car. Scary stuff. Don't buy one.

Pittsburgh 2 ton (4000 pound capacity) LINK - $145. This is the most common "track jack" used by most racers and it is the best weight/size/cost compromise. It can lift 2 tons, so you could change your trailer or truck tire, in a pinch. It also has a very low minimum height (usually 2.75") and this is the one to buy.

Note: These 2 ton units are not infallible, and being stupid can bite you with these. I had an issue with a 2 ton China jack, shown above. It was ALL my fault for lifting the car on a greasy crossmember. The car slid on the rubber pad, which itself just sits inside the cast aluminum saddle. This pad slipped and caused the car to then load the very lateral tip of the saddle, which cracked off, and the car fell off. The car then dropped right down onto the jack and crushed the oil pan. Nobody got hurt but it cost me a bit to fix the car. Learned a lesson that day.​

Pittsburgh 3 ton (6000 pound capacity) LINK - $185. This one is a bit chunkier and has a taller minimum height, but stronger hydraulics and might be better suited for shop use. But it is more robust than the 2 ton above - just a hair taller.


Steel jacks are MUCH heavier (3x the weight) but sturdier and better suited for shop use. They have a wider set of front wheels, which makes them more stable (but less useful than the "mono-roller" the track jacks all use).

This 3 ton Pittsburgh steel "rapid pump" low profile jack is our preferred shop jack. LINK - $115. This is their longer/lower profile unit that we use day in and day out.

We have 2 or 3 in the shop and they really do work great, amazing for the money. This is my only recommended shop jack currently. It weighs 109 pounds so NOT FUN to lug into or out of the trailer, but this can lift ANYTHING in a pinch. I keep one of these in the trailer for when the 2 ton aluminum unit above is out-gunned.

Something this low profile used to cost 6 times as much 20 years ago (the blue "AC Hydraulics" branded units from Holland was the best back then, at $800+), so this is one of the rare times China has made something as almost good as Europe or USA for a lot less. They also make pretty good sledge hammers.