From passionate car lovers to professional mechanics, a lifting jack is something that is possessed by anyone who works with a motor vehicle. These jacks use hydraulic arms to lift heavy sections so that you can work underneath it. Among a variety of jacks in the market, the most popular is the floor jack and the bottle jack.
However, as both of these jacks are contenders for the best lifting jack, they are packed with qualities. This makes it difficult to state only one of them as the best one out there. We made this guide as a comparative analysis of the two lifting jacks so that you can decide which is the best and perfect for you.
Choosing the Better One | Bottle Jack vs Floor Jack
We’ve done the most in-depth analysis and research on the similarities and dissimilarities of the two types of jacks. And then, we’ve organized them into a comprehensive guide to help you know which is better under different scenarios. But personal preference always beats all competition.
Outlook | Size and Shape of the Machine
Floor jacks are larger in length and shorter on height. It lies on the floor horizontally when it lifts. The height allows floor jacks to operate in cars having less ground clearance. So they are good for cars that don’t have much height between them and the ground. Slip the jack under the car and push the handle.
Bottle jacks are like bottles so they stand upright while operating. They are taller in height and also shorter in length. That’s why they are not ideal for cars with low ground clearance. Trucks are the ideal operating vehicle for bottle jacks, apart from any vehicle with high ground clearance.
The height of the lifting jack with zero pressure and in a position where it works is the minimum height. This is an important issue for car owners who like to customize their vehicles. Lowering the body will decrease the possibility of pushing something tall underneath it.
Floor jacks are perfect for these cars. Bottle jacks have a taller body so they’ll not fit underneath. However, bottle jacks work best for trucks. There is nothing to worry about the jack to be able to go underneath because trucks are already way off the ground.
This is the height at which the jack can lift your vehicle. The bottle jack wins this one. Because it has a longer lifting arm which rises directly without any extra mechanical actions. But floor jacks have extra mechanical actions and allow for less height to be reached even at maximum pressure.
The working principle of the two jacks is the same. Both of them lift using hydraulic arms which rises and drops by the increase and decrease of the pressure of a certain hydraulic fluid. But there are more mechanical actions involved in a floor jack.
Fastness and swiftness of hydraulic jacks depend on how long the jack handle is. Longer jack handle will make the lifting operation faster whereas shorter handles do it slower. Floor jacks have a longer handle and therefore, are faster. Bottle jacks have a shorter handle that makes them operate slower than floor jacks.
Placement of the hydraulic cylinder inside the jack makes up for the strength and the types of vehicles it can lift. If the hydraulic cylinder is placed vertically, there are no extra mechanical actions involved in the lifting. So, they can lift more weight.
In a bottle jack, the hydraulic cylinder is placed vertically. So, it’s more powerful and can lift heavier vehicles like trucks. But floor jacks have horizontal hydraulic cylinder placement, for lighter vehicles. There’s an extra mechanical action that transfers the energy from the cylinder to the lifting arm.
A larger lifting pad means more contact with the vehicle. So, a little amount of movement of the vehicle will not cause any trouble because it will still stay over the pad. Floor jacks have large lifting pads. However, bottle jacks have smaller lifting pads and sometimes they are like the head of a screw.
Maneuverability and Stability
Floor jacks come with 4 wheels attached to them. Since the jack itself is quite heavy, these wheels are very useful in terms of mobility. An added advantage that is found on floor jacks is the stability it provides when the vehicles move or shake at the lifted position. The jack stabilizes itself adjusting its position.
Having no wheels on a bottle jack does not impact its maneuverability because the machine is already small and light enough to move and position by hand. But, it is not as stable as a floor jack because it can’t stabilize itself when the vehicle shakes at the lifted position.
The winner of this section is pretty obvious. The smaller size and fewer parts make a bottle jack lighter, and thus, portable. It fits in small spaces too. But floor jacks’ size and weight make them not as portable as the bottle jack. You can keep them inside the trunk of your car at best.
There is no way of stating one of them as better than the other. Each jack has its strong and weak sides. It is up to the vehicle you will work with that is going to decide whether it needs a floor jack or a bottle jack.
For cars with a lowered body, the bottle jack is simply not an option. You must use a floor jack. But there are some quite high SUVs. You can use both of the jacks. Again, if portability is a concern, then bottle jack is your go-to. So, see what your car needs at first, and then you can choose a jack to work with.