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How To Buy The Right Trolley Jack | Choosing A Trolley Jack | SGS

what is the best trolley jack

How to choose a trolley jack

There are certain pieces of equipment that should be present in any car garage. One of those is the ever-reliable trolley jack lift – a trusty and incredibly strong garage sidekick that does all the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to. Now, trolley jacks come in many different shapes and sizes, so if you’re new to the world of jack lifts, or you’re simply looking to find the right jack for your particular job, we’re here to help.

What is a trolley jack?

A trolley jack is one of the absolute cornerstones of the gear you'll need in a garage or to go with your vehicle. It doesn't matter whether you need one in the boot for emergencies or parked in the corner of your service garage business - you’ll definitely require a trolley jack if you plan on doing any work on a car.

A trolley jack is a mobile device that enables you to lift your vehicle to carry out work underneath, whether that’s to change the tyres, work on brake assemblies or carry out just about anything else you might need to. The aim is to lift the vehicle with the minimum possible effort to perform your inspections and work. This is done using a simple hydraulic pump system that works as follows:

  • Upon lifting the jack handle, oil is drawn into the pump cylinder.
  • On lowering the handle, pressurised oil is pushed into the main cylinder, causing the main piston to raise.
  • Repeated vertical pumping of the jack handle pushes further pressurised oil into the main cylinder, further raising the main piston.
  • As the oil raises the piston, this causes the arm and saddle of the jack to extend, lifting the car.

This process turns lifting a tonne or more of automobile into a matter of a few easy handle pumps, hence why a jack lift is an invaluable piece of equipment for any garage. The trolley part simply means the jack is on (usually four) wheels, so you can use it where and when you ple

What is a trolley jack used for?

Lifting heavy vehicles, is the simple answer. Your trolley jack will give you the elevation you need to carry out essential work on your vehicle, be it a wheel change or adjustments to the brakes. Elevation levels differ between models, but typically you’ll find lifting ranges (i.e. the height to which you can lift your vehicle) between 100-500mm, with some models offering higher or lower.

Who are trolley jacks for? Well, virtually anyone who owns a car can find value in owning one. Head to your local service garage and you’ll likely see a number of jacks scattered about the place. Likewise, check in your average car enthusiast’s garage at home or their car boot and you’ll probably find one as well.

How much does a hydraulic trolley jack cost?

Although we can assure you that all our jacks represent exceptional value, that depends on what capacity of model you require. The lifting capacity of trolley jacks is wide ranging, with jacks available that are suitable for use with smaller cars through to models that are fit for use with trucks. Naturally, finding what sort of jack and capacity you require will be your biggest question, which brings us nice onto our next section.

Choosing a trolley jack – what size trolley jack do I need?

A common question a beginner might ask is why do vehicle jacks come in different sizes? The answer is very simple: bigger vehicles require bigger jacks.

Every jack is rated to a certain weight to help you select a suitable model for your lifting requirements. Because a jacked vehicle will only be lifted from one corner, you will only need a jack with a lifting capacity of around three quarters of your vehicle’s total weight. For example, a full-size family saloon will probably only need a jack with a 2-ton capacity to lift it. The best car jack for an SUV or 4x4, meanwhile, may need a capacity of at least 3 tons.

One of the most important factors to consider is how much your trolley jack can lift. As a rule, never put yourself at risk by using an under specified trolley jack to lift a vehicle that weighs more than an average car. Before you go any further with your potential purchase, check the weight of your car in your manufacturer’s guide or online to make sure the jack you’re looking at is going to be fit for purpose.

What are you using your jack for?

Different jacks do different jobs, so we’ve split our range of trolley jacks into different sections to help you choose exactly the right sort of jack for your needs. All of our jacks are designed and built to the highest quality standards and are fully CE rated.

Home/Light DIY Jacks

The lowest cost jacks in our range, home and light duty jacks are ideal for low duty cycle applications, such as light weight home garage use or for putting in the back of your car in case of emergencies. Offering amazing value for money, these jacks will enable you to carry out key essentials such as changing tyres or enjoy some light tinkering at the weekend. Despite their low cost, these jacks will give you years of reliable service if looked after properly – and just for your peace of mind; we include a 2 year warranty with all our jack models.

We know that only the best will do when it comes to your car, so we stock only the best.

2 Ton Car Trolley Jack

2 ton home use jack
  • 2-ton jack capacity
  • 130mm to 345mm lifting range
  • Best value-for-money jack on the web
  • Short wheelbase chassis
  • Integrated carry handle
  • Industrial hydraulic pump with relief valve
  • Heavy duty one-piece hydraulic pump

2 Ton Low Profile Trolley Jack

personal trolley jack
  • 2-ton jack capacity
  • 89mm to 359mm lifting range
  • Low profile jack, ideal for low-slung and normal height cars
  • 360° rotating handle
  • Heavy duty chassis with strengthening flanges
  • Rear swivel casters for easy positioning
  • Fits under almost all cars but lifts to standard height

Hobbyists / Garage Jacks

Like to play around with your motor? These medium to large duty cycle trolley jacks are fantastic for weekend use in the garage. You’ll find a few more options among this range, like rocket lift, low-profile and high-lift mechanisms, making them highly versatile. Being larger, heavier, and sturdier jacks, they might not be suitable for keeping in the back of a car – so double check you’re happy with the weight of your chosen jack before you make a purchase.

If you require a jack for regular lifting use and you’re a serious car enthusiast, you can’t go wrong with one of our mid to high-range garage options. If you’re looking for a hydraulic jack for an SUV, this is a good place to start, too.

3 Ton Low Profile Garage Trolley Jack

  • 3-ton max capacity
  • 98mm to 535mm lifting range
  • A must for the home mechanic and serious enthusiast alike
  • Dual pump pistons for fast lifting action
  • Bumper pad on the handle to protect the vehicle
  • Top saddle protector provides safer lifting
  • Ball bearing mounted rear swivel caster wheels

3 Ton Long Reach Professional Jack

  • 3-ton max capacity
  • 150mm to 525mm lifting range
  • Long reach, low-profile trolley jack
  • Fixed direction castors, swivel castors and inside wheel
  • Foot pedal to rapidly raise and lower the load arm and vehicle
  • Long reach pump handle with comfort rubber grip
  • Includes rubber pad for the saddle

Amateur Racing / Aluminium Jacks

Enjoy track days or weekends spent in the world of rally cross/stock car racing? An aluminium trolley jack is the perfect for you. Our aluminium 1.5 and 2.5 ton hydraulic jack options are easier to manoeuvre around a paddock and with many of the same key features as the garage jacks, these lightweight aluminium jacks are designed and built with racing and track days in mind. Our race car lift jacks are also incredibly easy to use as their dual pumps raise the jack to its full saddle height in only 9 strokes - perfect for speedy pit stops.

1.5 Ton Aluminium Trolley Jack

jack for race car
  • 1.5-ton max capacity
  • 90mm to 358mm lifting range
  • Ultra-lightweight aluminium chassis
  • Low profile
  • Easy lift quickly extends the saddle to full height
  • Ergonomic carry handle
  • Pump overload/relief safety valve

2.5 Ton Aluminium Racing Trolley Jack

aluminium trolley jack
  • 2.5-ton max capacity
  • 100mm to 460mm lifting range
  • Ultra-lightweight aluminium chassis
  • Includes a rubber pad to protect the underside of your vehicle
  • Ideal for sports car enthusiasts/vehicles with a low chassis
  • The best aluminium trolley jack in the SGS range – utilising quick lift dual pumps extend arm to full saddle height in just 9 strokes
  • Ergonomic carry handle

Professional / High Duty-Cycle Jacks

For garage business owners where lifting equipment will be used on a daily basis, your jacks need to be ready for constant use. With that in mind, one (or more) of our pro jacks would be ideal for you. Expertly engineered to endure heavy use and abuse, these jacks come with a 2-year commercial warranty but will last you for much longer with regular maintenance. If you’re working a realm where you rely on your jack’s performance for financial income, we recommend something from our professional series.

2 Ton Ultra Low Profile Professional Service Trolley Jack

  • 2-ton max capacity
  • 70mm to 500mm lifting range
  • Professional low-profile service trolley jack- the best low-profile jack in the SGS range
  • Ergonomic looped handle for easy positioning
  • Foot operated quick lift hydraulics
  • Top hydraulic floor jack saddle protector provides safer lifting
  • Polyamide wheels allow discreet manoeuvring

10 Ton Long Reach Professional Service Trolley Jack

  • 10-ton max capacity
  • 160mm to 560mm lifting range
  • Professional series service trolley jack
  • Perfect for demanding use with lorries, buses, coaches and large vans
  • Access deep jacking points with the long reach design
  • Foot pedal reduces time and effort through the process

Other considerations:

There are two further key considerations to bear in mind before purchasing:

  • Size of saddle – As a rule of thumb, the larger the saddle diameter, the more contact will be made with the underside of your vehicle and more secure your lift will be.
  • Jacking height – Look into how high you need to raise your vehicle. This is referred to as 'lifting range', and more often than not is measured in millimetres (mm). You can use the filters in the trolley jack category to refine your results to match the lifting capacity you require.

Trolley Jack Features Explained

Low Profile

low profile jack

The best trolley jack for lowered cars, low-profile jacks are designed to be used on vehicles with lower than average ground clearance, making them an essential for usage with many sports cars.

Aluminium Chassis

aluminium chassis jack

Designed to be lighter weight than their steel counterparts, aluminium jacks are an essential requirement for racing jacks and those who want maximum manoeuvrability. 

High Lift / Long Reach

long reach jack

As it says on the tin, high lift jacks are the answer to how to jack your car up higher, giving you a greater lifting range for more specialist lifting applications, as well as greater flexibility. Long reach jacks lift vehicles with difficult to negotiate or deeper jacking points than your standard car.

Rocket Lift

rocket lift jack

This feature means the jack is designed to offer the minimum possible amount of lifts in the jacking process, courtesy of larger pistons or dual pistons. If you want super quick lifts with the minimum amount of effort, rocket lift trolley jacks are the pick for you.

Trolley Jack Kits & Extras

It’s worth mentioning that a trolley jack (or any kind of hydraulic jack) is designed to lift the vehicle only – not hold it for any significant amount of time. After you’ve lifted a vehicle to your required height, make sure to use good quality supports - such as our SGS axle stands - so you can work under your vehicle safely. Essentially - never work under a vehicle supported by a trolley jack alone.

Many of our trolley jacks are available with bundled axle stands for secure holding. If you’re going to be working under a car, axle stands are an essential accessory. See our video guide: “How To Lift Your Vehicle With A Trolley Jack & Axle Stands” to learn the best way to lift a vehicle to the point where it’s safe to be worked under. One more thing to note if you are considering extras – you’ll always get the very best value when you purchase an SGS bundle deal.

aluminium jack and axles stand
2.5 Ton Aluminium Jack & 4 Axle Stands
2.5 ton jack and axle stands
2.5 Ton High Lift Trolley Jack & Axle Stands
low profile jack and axle stands
2 Ton Low Profile Pro Jack & 4 Axle Stands
low entry jack and axle stands
2 Ton Low Entry Trolley Jack & Four Axle Stands
portable trolley jack with case
2 Ton Trolley Jack With Case & Axle Stands

Still need help?

still need help

Our in house experts are always on hand for buying advice and to provide bespoke care, regardless of the application.

Call SGS on 01332 576 850 or fill out our contact form today.