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  • If you want the simplest solution to picking a floor jack size, you can just look for the jack with the highest tonnage capacity provided it fits under your vehicle. Otherwise, follow the 3/4ths rule when it comes to picking floor jack capacity.
  • The size of a floor jack is also determined by how much weight it can carry. Larger jacks tend to carry more weight, but they’re also slower and weigh more. Refer to our floor jack chart for their weight capacities and average sizes.
  • To determine what size of floor jack you need, you’ll need to know your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), which can be found in the vehicle manual.
  • Common materials for floor jacks include aluminum, steel, and hybrid materials.

What size floor jack is good for a truck? How about for an SUV? It’s common to go after the highest weight capacity when picking a jack for your emergency kit. But do you really need the type that can lift up to five tons at a time? Let’s find out.

Picking a Floor Jack

If you want the simplest solution, you can just look for the jack with the highest tonnage capacity. If you own a sedan for instance, you’re definitely going to be fine with a floor jack made for trucks. If you can afford the larger jack and it will fit under your vehicle, it may be worth the investment. The larger the jack, the easier it will be to lift your vehicle.

The larger the jack, the. easier it will be to lift the vehicle

Anthony Harlin, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

You should also consider if the jack is too big to fit under your vehicle though. Some vehicles require a smaller profile jack, meaning a low-profile jack. Find out what kind of jack fits under your vehicle first and foremost. Then, if you want to save on a little cash (and weight), it’s best to check the exact weight of your vehicle and pick the floor jack with the corresponding weight capacity.

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While your floor jack will usually only need to lift half the vehicle’s weight, you don’t want to risk operating the jack at its maximum capacity. It’ll be harder to lift the car and also leave little to no room for error in terms of centering the vehicle’s weight and the jack itself. The jack’s linkage bars might distort at maximum weight when improperly centered, and this can lead to the jack failing entirely.

There are also multiple types of jacks out there other than floor jacks. Scout out your options and determine what you need.

Floor Jack Sizes

The size of a floor jack is also determined by how much weight it can carry. Larger jacks tend to carry more weight. However, these higher capacity jacks tend to be slower and weigh more. Here’s a chart showing the weight capacities and the average sizes of the jacks that can carry them:

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Jack Weight Capacity Jack Sizes (Length x Width)
1.5 Tons 20 to 22 inches x 10 to 12 inches
2 Tons 27 inches x 15 inches
3 Tons 27 inches x 15 inches
4 Tons 30 inches x 15 inches
5 Tons 25 inches x 7 inches
(14 inches high)

How Much Does Your Vehicle Weigh?

To determine what size of floor jack you need, you’ll need to know how much your vehicle weighs. You can find your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) in the vehicle manual. The GVW also appears on the sticker in the driver’s door jamb. Many vehicles split the weight into the front and rear weights. It’s always best to purchase a floor jack that can carry the heavier of the two weights following the 3/4ths rule.

Materials for Floor Jacks

The weight of the floor jack itself can make it more or less cumbersome to use. This weight depends not only on the size but also the material of the floor jack. Here are the different materials available for floor jacks:


Aluminum floor jacks trade durability and cost for weight. Aluminum jacks are the lightest floor jacks, but they cost the most and may need to be replaced sooner than other jacks. They’re great for an emergency roadside kit, the race track, and the occasional peek under the chassis. However, for the average automobile hobbyist or DIYer, the maneuverability might be worth sacrificing for a more durable material.

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Steel floor jacks cost the least while also providing reliable service for years. Unfortunately, they’re also the heaviest. They’re mostly used by pros and mechanics in repair shops and service bays who generally don’t need to move their tools too far from where they’re working.


Hybrid car jacks made from steel arms and power units with aluminum side plates strike a good balance of weight and price. They’re great for mobile professional mechanics and serious DIYers eager to shave down the weight of their gear.

Picking a car floor jack is all about knowing your vehicle’s GVW and doing a little math. After that, you just need to make sure that the maximum height of your service jack is adequate for your vehicle and you’re good to go! Follow the 3/4ths rule, check which type of jack will fit under your vehicle, and you’ll be able to buy the right jack in no time.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at

Tony Harlin is a Master Gas and Diesel Diagnostic Technician with over 18 years of experience. He works full-time at a large independent automotive shop as a driveability and repair technician working on all types of vehicles with a focus on diesels. ASE certifications include A1-A9, L1 and L2, as well as X1.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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